My Five Favorite Ways to Organize Room-by-Room

Well, you guys! You did it! You made me cry the happiest tears I have cried in a very long time. I am so overwhelmed by the outpouring of support you all showed me after my last post. I am still making my way through all of the emails and comments and letting every word soak in. So. Much. Good. And so many new ideas and thoughts that spurred from our conversations in the comment section! I looooved it! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Today I was invited to host a blog hop surrounding my favorite subject of all time: ORGANIZING! I mentioned I wanted to do more connecting and sharing this year, and this was the perfect way to dive right in!

I am joining a group of lovely ladies, and each of us was asked to share our favorite organizing tip for five different rooms in our homes. I absolutely can’t wait to check out all of the other blogs and pick up a few new ideas for myself! You all can follow along with my fellow friends below:

I will admit, I had a hard time narrowing each room down to one tip, but this was a really good exercise for me and really got me thinking. So, I picked what I thought were ideas that made a big impact on my day-to-day life, were easy enough that most anyone could implement and were budget friendly. Some of these might look familiar, or seem obvious, but sometimes the obvious needs to be spoken.

This was the hardest room for me to narrow down. I could have talked about how to date pantry items and leftovers or how to best layout your kitchen or why I think lazy susans are amazing or what to store under your kitchen sink or how I meal plan. I had so many ideas it inspired another post or two for the near future. That said, I decided to focus on a product I use in almost every area of my kitchen (and home). My number one tip for organizing in the kitchen is to use my absolute all-time favorite bins, the multi-purpose bin, to organize everything.

I have bragged about these bins to the moon and back and I still pick up a couple more every time I visit The Container Store. I love their price, but more importantly, their versatility, especially in the kitchen. These bins come in a variety of widths, are easy to clean, are translucent, are lightweight and have handles. Here are a few ways you can use these bins to whip your kitchen into organized shape:

  • In the fridge to create zones and kits. Think breakfast items and yogurts, lunch making supplies, produce, snacks, baggies containing treats and leftovers. 
  • In the pantry for dividing out produce, breads, spreads, chips, wraps…
  • In a cabinet to hold paper products.
  • Under the kitchen sink to corral cleaning supplies.
  • In a cabinet to hold clean rags and dish towels.
  • In a cabinet to store medications and vitamins. 
  • In deep drawers to file and divide specific gadgets, utensils, and lids.
  • On a nearby counter or shelf to corral daily mail and papers.

This is one that may seem obvious to most when I say, “create an inbox!”. But friends, you really need an inbox!

Not all inboxes are created equal and it also helps to have a plan that correlates with your bin. The plan is just as important as the inbox itself.

I placed an oversized paper tray on my desk. I love this particular option because it is a little longer and wider than traditional letter trays. It also has stacking components as you can see above, so I can keep a few other desk goodies nearby without taking up all of my usable workspace. Lastly, I keep it in the most accessible location in my office, so I can easily add things to it throughout the week and also quickly work on it when the time comes.

As the week goes on, anything that enters the house that requires my attention or an action goes into my inbox. That might include a catalog I want to look at, a form I need to sign, scan and email, an address I need to log into my address book, Christmas cards I need to file away, receipts I need to expense, return labels I have printed, dates I need to add to my planner, etc… A lot of times these things are thrown at me and I can’t give them my immediate attention, but I want them in a single place so if I need them at any point during the week, I know where to look.

The reason why the width of the tray is important is that it also fits a standard file folder. That allows me to add a specific place to put any bills or invoices that need to be paid. I like to keep those items separate as Bryan and I do our budget together and I never want to misplace any of our financial documents.

So, part one is to have a single drop zone place for all of the things to do. Part two is to actually do those things! I block 30 minutes on my calendar each week to go through my inbox and clear it out. It is a reminder that chimes on my phone and also a reoccurring task on my weekly list. I don’t typically need that much time but I like to have it blocked just in case.

This one is easy peasy. Do you ever go to grab a set of sheets and part of the set is missing? Do you struggle with nicely folding those awful fitted sheets? Or have piles of sheets toppling over in your linen closet?

You know those inexpensive mesh laundry sacks generally intended for washing delicate clothes? Well, they also work great for corralling your individual sets of sheets. Just fold the sheets the best you can, tuck them inside a zippered sack and add a lavender dryer or sachet sheet for good measure. It keeps all of the set pieces together and smelling nice.

Also, people ask me all of the time why our “linen” or hallways closet doesn’t actually have many linens stored in it. The answer is because I store most of our linens in the actual room they belong in. Each bedroom has two sets of sheets, one on the bed and a backup set. Same for bathrooms, one clean towel on the hook, one back-up. The mesh sacks store nicely in a bedroom drawer, in a bin or up on a closet shelf.

No surprise, my favorite bin is making another appearance!

In the bathroom, I always recommend adding a cleaning kit under the sink. Bathrooms are gross, germy, grimy places, and no one wants to run all the way to the kitchen for cleaners on a frequent basis; keeping some essentials in each bathroom encourages frequent wipe downs.

Under each of our bathroom sinks I have added a couple of bins to hold the following:

  • Lidded toilet brush
  • Toilet bowl cleaner
  • Multi-surface cleaning spray (homemade recipe found here)
  • Shower scrub brush with cleaner added to the handle (homemade recipe found here)
  • Sink & grout brush
  • Trash can bags
  • Magic erasers
  • Cleaning rags
I try my best to quickly wipe down each bathroom each day. A quick pass over the mirror, down to the faucet and then around the counter (all with the same spray). The scrub brush quickly removes any makeup or toothpaste from the sink. I also try to use the shower scrubber on the walls of the shower every day or two to prevent soap build-up.
I add enough clean rags to the bin each week to get me through seven days of wipe downs, and after each cleaning, the dirty rag is tossed into a separate bin until wash day. I purchased the rags in bulk so I can do this for each bathroom, and at the end of the week they are all washed together in their own load. 
Speaking of washing laundry, let’s chat about that next! I made a rule for the family awhile back that I wouldn’t allow any dirty clothes to be left in the laundry room, with the exception of special wash items. Each bedroom has a hamper and each person has a specific day of the week to do their own wash. Sundays are for rags, delicate items and linens. 

On their specific day, a family member will take their hamper of dirty clothes and any empty hangers to the laundry room and do their laundry. Clothes are folded and put on hangers directly from the washer or dryer and brought right back to their rooms.
Taking away community hampers was an instant win for us! No more mixed socks or arguments over who should do laundry and when. Or what clothes belong to which kid. No more finger pointing at one another over shrinking sweaters and mixing colors. I will never say that I love doing laundry, but these quick tips have really helped us all with sanity and accountability! 
_______________

Thanks again everyone! I hope one or some of these tips are helpful and easy enough for you to give a whirl. Don’t forget to check out the other posts below for even more around-the-house organizational tips:

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from IHeart Organizing http://www.iheartorganizing.com/2018/01/my-five-favorites-room-by-room.html

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